Teotihuacan Figurines – Memories of Ancient Mexico

One of the young members of the Collection Management Team, Rebecca Lush has researched part of our collection of clay Teotihuacan figurines.

The Teotihuacan civilization was in the central highlands of what is now Mexico. Teotihuacan was a large urban settlement of around 20 square kilometres with a population of 180,000 inhabitants. It was built around several large temples which are a popular destination for modern day visitors to Mexico.

Mexican clay figurine head from Abbey Collection

No records of life in Teotihuacan remain so the figurines give us the greatest amount of information we have about the life of the people there. Looking at our figurines in Museum Case 28, it’s intriguing to imagine how they were made, who made them and what they were used for.

The figurines were excavated by a Swedish archaeologist, Sigvald Linné between 1932 and 1935. He went on to become a well known museum director in Stockholm.

Recently a book was written about these terracotta figurines. The book contained a catalogue which allowed Rebecca to identify each of our figurines and find out more about them. Enthused by her research, Rebecca contacted the British Museum and was granted access to their collection of Teotihacan figurines. On a recent visit to London, armed with the knowledge she gained through researching our figurines, Rebecca was able to categorise and date those in British Museum’s Collection.

Abbey Staff Member

All this helps to remind us that the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology is part of an international museum community dedicated to sharing knowledge about the history of mankind.